Canada is equipped to assist in relief efforts for the victims of Hurricane Dorian, thanks to strategic investments made in Canada’s Armed Forces by our previous Conservative Federal Government.

Should the request be made to deploy Canada’s Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART), Canada now has the ability to put boots on the ground.

Prior to the acquisition of strategic lift aircraft by the previous Conservative Government, Canada had to rely on borrowed American aircraft or rented Russian aircraft to deploy troops on disaster assistance, humanitarian aide, and military operations, including the Manitoba floods in 1997, the Quebec ice storm 1998, the Afghanistan mission in 2002, and the South Asian tsunami relief operation in 2005.

Unlike the current federal government that makes empty promises with no funding, I am proud of the role I played in locating the new Chinook Tactical 450 Helicopter Squadron at Garrison Petawawa.

Hurricane Dorian, the most powerful storm to hit the Bahamas in recorded history, parked over Abaco and Grand Bahama islands, with winds up to 295 km/h and torrential rain. A category 5 hurricane, it has caused extensive and devastating damage. The full extent of humanitarian needs will continue to emerge as Dorian is still causing a huge amount of rain on the Bahamas islands. Dorian has damaged houses and other buildings, leaving many people without adequate shelter. As many as 13,000 houses may have been severely damaged or destroyed in the Bahamas. On the island of Abaco, extensive flooding has contaminated wells with saltwater, creating an urgent need for clean water.

Canada needs to regain its standing in the world. In a visit to Garrison Petawawa in July, NATO’s secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg urged the current federal government to not backtrack on boosting Canada’s defence spending. The Federal Government plans to invest billions of dollars less in new military equipment than promised this year. This has raised concerns about whether the Forces will fall short of broader NATO spending targets.

Our Forces stand on guard for us, both at home and around the world.  So we must stand up for them.

The men and women who put on the uniform of Canada must have the tools they need to protect themselves and do their job. Military members and their families know that I have been there for them, watching their backs.

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